As more and more survivors come forward we are extremely busy helping them get their files and taking their accounts of being in the ‘care’ of Islington Council. We are preparing a report which will tell the story of the survivors who have come forward and will also look into the history of how so many child abusers got into the Islington child care system over so many years.
A few of us have continued to meet with the council and police and are making slow but steady progress. We had hoped for Islington police to work with us to investigate criminal matters but Operation Winter Key, which is a Metropolitan Police investigation into child sexual abuse, has taken over all police responsibility. Based in Stratford, they are responding to London-wide issues raised by the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse ( IICSA). We haven’t heard from Operation Winter Key officers yet but we hope they will work with us. Winter Key are concerned mainly with child sexual abuse so physical harm and neglect still come under the local Islington police. Instead of us working with one police team we will be having to liaise with different officers in various places which is far from ideal when it comes to building up trust and confidence.
We really want to hear from you if you were a member of staff who witnessed the abuse of children – you are extremely important to us in helping to corroborate survivor accounts. Many, many thanks to those who have already come forward to help us. You may be a witness as a family member, neighbour or someone in the community who listened to children at the time telling you about the abuse. We ask you to come forward now. Islington council officers have promised us that there will be no recrimination against any current or former members of staff who come forward to us.
We are learning about many different homes we did not know existed. The council has no information on the children’s homes, when they were open, who the staff were etc. so we are gathering this information ourselves by researching council documents and the local papers. We have the help of a researcher which is essential as there is so much to explore and try to make sense of. So far, as well as survivors from the children’s homes, we have heard from survivors who were in foster homes and others in secure units and boarding schools. The council have told us that they have boxes relating to the Inquiries of the 90s but they are waiting to resource a member of staff to go through these. Although we have obtained some Inquiry reports through Freedom of Information requests there are many key documents we have not been able to access.
If you were in an Islington children’s home and were abused sexually, physically, emotionally or through neglect – we would like to hear from you. We know it isn’t easy to come forward – it takes immense courage. We don’t have a phone but you can email firstname.lastname@example.org. There is a form on the front page if it suits you to fill it in then please do.
If you give us a phone number we will call you.
You can also write to us;
Islington Survivors Network ; c/o Islington Link Up, 16-18 Hornsey road, London N7 7BP.
We want to thank everyone who has worked so hard to help us – designing artwork, being in the office covering the administration, filing, making calls and responding to emails, attending council meetings and helping to support survivors in getting the help they need.
We especially thank those who have donated money so generously through our GoFundMe page – we couldn’t manage without this funding. It has helped to pay the researcher and database access, cover taxi fares to help survivors who are disabled to get to meetings, pay for the website, postage, refreshments, other running costs and much else. https://www.gofundme.com/282fy5w
In the coming weeks keep your eye on this website as our campaign is developing in strength and we will be keeping you well informed.
From all of us at Islington Survivors Network